Rum is the best-selling hard liquor in Nova Scotia and Ironworks Distillery in historic Lunenburg is one of its best rum-makers. Tradition rules. The province’s seafaring heritage dictates not only that fishing, boat-building and watersports endure, but also that rum, the classic, sweet alcohol so favoured in the maritime world registers high in popularity with “Bluenosers” (Nova Scotians).

It stands to reason, then, that one of Nova Scotia’s top distillers of rum (and other beverages) is Ironworks, set in an old marine blacksmith shop, dating back to 1893, near the scenic harbour; it’s easy access for tourists and a favourite local spot for buying top-quality rum. Ironworks rum was first crafted by distillery founders, Pierre Guevremont and Lynne MacKay in 2009, and it is one of the first independent distillers in the province, capitalizing on local ingredients. The emphasis is on hand-crafted batches from scratch; the popularity of their fine products, especially rum, has seen their business grow and thrive. Here are the rums available at Ironworks Distillery:

  • Amber Rum, available in 375 and 750 millilitre sizes
  • Bluenose Rum, 350ml and 750ml, also an amber run, double-distilled
  • Five Year Rum, 375ml only, aged 5 years in barrels, with a peachy-toned hue
  • World Rum, very limited stock (only four casks), release date Summer 2019; amber rum aged in oak barrels for two or eight years in the hold of the ship Barque Picton Castle
  • Rum Boat Rum, 500ml, also limited edition, aged two to five years in oak barrels on Ironworks’ floating warehouse Black Beauty

Ironworks Distillery also has a booth at the daily Halifax Seaport Farmers Market and the Saturday (8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) Wolfville Farmers Market. Ironworks rum can be purchased in Nova Scotia Liquor Commission stores and at the distillery in Lunenburg; they ship anywhere in Canada. They also make superb gin, vodka, and fruit eau de vie and liqueurs.

Ironworks Distillery is a destination point, as is its hometown, Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Location of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, and the home port of the schooner Bluenose II (visitors can board her when she is in dock). The historic streets are littered with lovely restaurants (many overlooking the harbour) and unique shops and galleries; Lunenburg is a shutter-bug’s dream with singular maritime architecture (find out what a Lunenburg Bump is!) in a range of brilliant colours.

While you’re in Nova Scotia, try other rum-makers on your rum-tasting tour. Halifax Distilling Company on Lower Water Street in downtown Halifax specializes in rums and has a vast range of types. Or take a drive up to the Bay of Fundy shore an sample the rums made by Barrelling Tide Distillery in Port Williams.

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